OUCH! Beginner’s Guide to Recovering from a Running Injury

running injury

Well, it had to happen didn’t it? After taking a break from running for several years and FINALLY getting my groove right back on (and completing my first incredible 10K run along the breath-takingly gorgeous coast of Faial, Azores), I got injured.

Yep, that’s right. Me. Injury. 🙁

One minute I was flying down the road towards the city, past tropical trees and crystal clear sea, and the next I was hobbling along home like an 80 year-old with arthritis, barely able to even put weight on my poor ankle.

You can imagine the depths of my despair…

“Goodbye #AzoresTrailRun2017…Goodbye stress-relieving escapes from the house and into the big wide world. Goodbye lovely new toned and strong body. Goodbye happy endorphins….” *sob*

And so what followed was a desperate quest to recover from this horrible injury and then get back into shape before the 10K rolls around in May…

Hmmm….it wasn’t always easy, but I found my way through and you can too. So here is my beginner’s guide to recovering from a running injury.

1. REST!!!

Once you’ve done the ice, the elevation and all that jazz, it’s time to give your body some TLC by resting.

It’s no good trying to push through the pain just for the sake of your training routine- you’ll only end up making your injury even worse, limping around for even longer and really regretting what you’ve done.

Believe me- I know how hard it is- I’ve been itching to get out there again since it happened but I’m glad I didn’t. Just rest. Do it!

2. Get moving again!

Don’t think that means you can sit immobile in front of endless series of Netflix now!!

When some of the swelling has gone down and you can bear weight again, pull on those trainers and get moving.

This helps to improve blood flow to the area, keeps your joints mobile and help you heal faster. And I almost forgot to mention, it also keeps morale up too. VERY important, if you ask me.

Start with gentle short walks outside, and build up to longer ones. If all is well and you’re getting better, why not think about adding some swimming or cycling too. These are relatively low impact sports and will help you stay fit despite your running injury.

3. Treat yourself to some new shoes

It doesn’t matter which side of the barefoot fence you’re on, studies show that wearing the wrong shoes can vastly increase your chances of getting injured.

This means it’s well worthwhile reviewing what you’re wearing on your feet before you get training again.

I’m all about the natural and LOVE the philosophy behind barefoot running but I can’t risk injuries (and the tracks here are made of loose volcanic stone which really hurts!) so I’ve treated myself to a pair of Xero running sandals. They haven’t arrived just yet, but when they do, I’ll let you know how I get on.

4. Ease back into your training slowly!

It’s so tempting to try to make up for lost time when you start training again. But don’t make this mistake!

Take it slowly, make sure you warm up well and listen closely to how your body is feeling all the time. If it shouts, LISTEN! Be kind to yourself and you’ll recover faster.

For your first few runs, try the alternating technique- start with a gentle walk for five to ten minutes, then run gently for a further five to ten and if you’re pain-free, walk again for the same period.

Slowly increase and don’t expect yourself to be breaking any Guinness world records just yet!! And never ever increase your mileage more than 10% per week.

5. Don’t get injured in the first place

Checking your running footwear is a great start to remaining injury-free, but there are many other tricks you can use to minimise your chances of getting injured in the first place. These include:

  • Warming up properly
  • Tweaking your running technique
  • Strengthening your feet, ankles and knees with targeted exercises
  • Drinking enough water and eating well

I’ve done all of these things and I’m pleased to say that I’m now well on the road to recovery.

Sure- I might not get back up to speed in time for the #AzoresTrailRun2017 (*sob*)but I’m sure as hell going to try.

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